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Earth Science

Media Reports About a Massive Geomagnetic Storm Hitting Earth on March 18 Are Inaccurate, NOAA Says (newsweek.com) 50

Several news outlets this week are reporting that Earth is expecting a "massive magnetic storm" on March 18. Yeah, so that's not happening, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) told Newsweek and other outlets. From a report: And they would know: Not only does NOAA help people build forecasts for weather here on Earth, they also predict space weather events like geomagnetic storms. "This story is not plausible in any way, shape or form," Bob Rutledge, who leads NOAA's Space Weather Forecast Center, told Newsweek via e-mail. "Things are all quiet for space weather, and the sun is essentially spotless." The magnetic storm's "imminent" arrival was one of Monday morning's top science news stories, according to Google News. But most coverage appeared to be based on a misinterpretation of a chart posted on Russia's Lebedev Institute's website showing a minor uptick in geomagnetic activity on the 18th. That elevated activity is expected to be a minor storm at most.
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Media Reports About a Massive Geomagnetic Storm Hitting Earth on March 18 Are Inaccurate, NOAA Says

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  • Ok that's why (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 13, 2018 @03:26PM (#56254371)

    This is why I don't get my weather information from "news" outlets.

    • Or we are completely doomed! And the government is hiding this from us so we don't go running the the streets looting and rioting.

      Please not this is a sarcastic statement, do not take it as fact. (and ignore the man with the black suite behind me)

      • by bobstreo ( 1320787 ) on Tuesday March 13, 2018 @03:58PM (#56254573)

        Or we are completely doomed! And the government is hiding this from us so we don't go running the the streets looting and rioting.

        Please not this is a sarcastic statement, do not take it as fact. (and ignore the man with the black suite behind me)

        Is the black suite located near the rouge room? /s

        • Re:Ok that's why (Score:4, Insightful)

          by rtb61 ( 674572 ) on Wednesday March 14, 2018 @02:19AM (#56257175) Homepage

          Well, make no mistake, if you do not prepare, then yes, you are fucking doomed and it is only a matter of time. Perhaps this exaggerated story is not all bad, if it makes people think about the consequences of a real one which will inevitably happen, and in an unprotected digital world cause extremely severe ramifications, that will take months to repair. No manual systems in place to repair digital systems damaged to the extent they are incapable of repairing themselves. This causing repair time to blow out disastrously. Take no notice, no one will care, until it is too late and then everyone will be complaining about it on the internet, oh wait, they won't because the internet will be down for quite some time. For the simple, oh look, major solar storm, all the companies computers down, have to drive to work, oh wait my car doesn't work, it needs fixing, I'll call the repairman, oh wait the phone doesn't work. So can't even get to work, to try to use a computer that doesn't to order replacements, across a network that doesn't work, to a spare parts company who can not receive it because their computers are down and there is no staff to fill the order and can not even find the product in the warehouse and on it goes. A major solar storm would be a major disaster and make no mistake, the consequences would be really bad for quite some time. Imagine a modern digital police force required to operate manually for a month.

    • by goombah99 ( 560566 ) on Tuesday March 13, 2018 @03:54PM (#56254551)

      The National St. Paddy's Forecasting center is predicting a violent disruption of geospatial equilibrium and thought competence the morning of March 18th.

      • The National St. Paddy's Forecasting center is predicting a violent disruption of geospatial equilibrium and thought competence the morning of March 18th.

        Has the global warming due to green beer and green rivers alert been published yet?

    • and why I get my news from Slashdot.

  • by 110010001000 ( 697113 ) on Tuesday March 13, 2018 @03:28PM (#56254389) Homepage Journal
    Thats what THEY want you to believe. I am wrapping my head in tinfoil. They won't make a fool of me!
    • Thats what THEY want you to believe. I am wrapping my head in tinfoil. They won't make a fool of me!

      That will bake your head nicely, like a potato.

  • They're interfering with our electromagnetic interference; better start another investigation. I blame Jared for this.
  • In Soviet Russia, weather reports you.

  • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Tuesday March 13, 2018 @03:36PM (#56254441)

    ...instead got fake views!

  • No need for reporting on this one, if it's a HUGE magnetic storm expect there to be no reporting because of a black-out from power-loss. Also expect to see some pretty impressive Auroras. If you don't see either of these things, it isn't a magnetic storm to really worry about.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by iggymanz ( 596061 )

      the biggest events are CME and take 1 to 3 days to get to Earth

      so there would be plenty of warning.

      A really cool makes the sky green and sparks fly off of power lines...last one was 1859 and telegraph poles were spitting little bolts of lightning. well we can hope, no reason to go to work

  • Perhaps it is just an elaborate way to promote the show.

  • by 93 Escort Wagon ( 326346 ) on Tuesday March 13, 2018 @04:07PM (#56254635)

    The University of Alaska - Fairbanks does predict high auroral activity the night of the 18th [alaska.edu].

    So, depending on where you live, you might get to see some aurora that night - but nothing like the "news" going around the web.

  • worst case an A3 flare, which won't even color the sky in Norway, is the 24 hour prediction.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    For a real forecast of geomagnetic storms, go to the Space Weather Prediction Center [noaa.gov].

    There may actually be a geomagnetic storm on March 18. A Kp index of 5 or higher indicates a geomagnetic storm. It's not rare at all, and it's enough to get auroras in the far northern US. The effects of such a storm would be quite minor.

    The fake news articles are describing something on the level of the Carrington Event. A coronal mass ejection (CME) comparable to that of the Carrington Event did occur on July 23, 2012

  • In today's post-truth world, people are allowed to believe their own facts in the face of those pushed by so called "experts" and "people who actually know what the fuck they're talking about." So to anyone out there who wishes to believe in the alternative fact that Earth's technology will be set back to the 1700s on Sunday, you should feel free to sell me all of your soon-to-be-useless electronics which I will pay above-scrap prices for. I will use them to build a post-apocalyptic museum to teach the young ones about the before-times. Don't worry about scrubbing valuable personal information from them either, that will all be deleted when the geomagnetic storm hits.

  • How long would it take a journalist, editor, or dedicated fact checker in a news office to make that phone call or send that email before going to press and soiling themselves in public with embarrassingly wrong reporting? That what they say is true is the entire basis of their credibility as journalists. It's as if media outlets don't care anymore.
    • by rriven ( 737681 )

      In the race to be first in news it is too long to do much, if any fact checking.

    • phone call or email? Don't be a dinosaur, you can check online for sunspots, prominences and flares.Also the CME that take 24 to 72 hours to get to Earth.

      • The thing about journalism is that it's about building personal relationships with people who know other people, all of whom may tip you off to some good stories. It's also good to ask experts directly because they can give you interesting insights and nuance to potential stories or point you in directions you hadn't thought of. Those phone calls and emails for fact checking and listening for real expert opinions present you as a journalist with integrity and who is likely to be a "good" journalist to appro

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